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Newroads Evening with Eric LeGrand a Smashing Success!!!

Newroads Evening with Eric LeGrand a Smashing Success!!!

Two time time NY Giants Super Bowl Champ Eric Dorsey came out to support the cause and chatted with a few young fans. Photo by Brian Hester

Newroads Financial Group hosted the 7th Annual An Evening with Eric LeGrand last evening at the Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, NJ to help former Rutgers football standout Eric LeGrand raise awareness of and funding for spinal cord injury research. Newroads President, Jason Newcomb and Newroads Partner Ron Garutti Jr., both proud Rutgers Alumni started this event 7 years ago with the intention that it would be held one time to help Eric launch Team LeGrand, his chapter in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

Eric LeGrand signs a jersey held by his mother Karen as John Rivers looks on. The jersey was auctioned off later in the evening as a part of the fundraiser. Photo by Brian Hester

Eric was injured making a tackle in a game between Rutgers and Army art Giants stadium nine years ago which left him paralyzed. In the time since this accident Eric has gone on to become an author, sports broadcaster, clothing designer, motivational speaker and more importantly and inspirational force in the world. He fights tirelessly to raise funds for and awareness of spinal cord injury research.

For more on Eric please visit his sites Eric LeGrand and for his fashion line visit Shop 52 Also see Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

Hundreds of incredible items, such as these cleats worn by two time Superbowl Champ Logan Ryan were available for bid in a silent auction. Photo by Brian Hester
This bat, autographed by legendary New York Yankees Captain and future MLB Hall of Fame member Derek Jeter generated a fierce bidding war when featured in the live auction portion of the event. Photo by Brian Hester

Event organizer and Rutgers Super Alumni Jason Newcomb had this to say of the evening; It’s amazing to look back after 7 years of hosting “An Evening with Eric LeGrand,” and think that this was supposed to be a one-time event.  The outpouring of support for such an inspirational man continues to be overwhelming.  Every year we think that perhaps this is the year where we lose a little momentum, but instead the event only continues to grow.  We were at MetLife Stadium that October day 9 years ago, and made the (easy) decision to join the fight for those living with paralysis.  After last night’s event, we have now helped raise over $330,000 towards this critical cause and can’t wait for the day where we get to see Eric walk across the field to finish that play!  Until then, it is our pleasure and honor to continue to do our small part to help find a cure for spinal cord injury.  We hope that you are able to join us for next year’s event on 11.5.20!

Newroads President and Rutgers Alumni Jason Newcomb, works the crowd and drives up donations at the event. Photo by Brian Hester

Jason is one of the biggest Rutgers boosters I have met to date, attending and supporting any nature of Rutgers sports as well as actively supporting alumni clubs and functions. As a photographer covering Rutgers Football I can not recall the last time that Jason missed a game. His business partner Ron Garutti Jr. is also part of the much larger Rutgers family and works tirelessly to put together this event each year. As a Rutgers alumni myself I felt the need to care for our own when Eric was injured as did so many members of our Scarlet Knight community. I have offered my services as a photographer and have covered countless fund raising events that Eric has held over the years, from the corn hole tournament this past summer to his zumba event to his flag football tournaments to newest signature event, kickboxing at CKO.

Newroads Partner and Rutgers Alumni Ron Garutti Jr. takes a break from his hands on management of the event to pose for a quick photo with Karen LeGrand. Photo by Brian Hester
Rutgers interim head football coach Nunzio Campanile and assistant coach Rick Mantz were just two of many members of the Rutgers family that came out to show support for Eric LeGrand, center. Photo by Brian Hester
Rutgers AD Pat Hobbs shows off the newest item in Eric’s fashion line, the white Roll Model 52 tee shirt. AD Hobbs has gone above and beyond in offering the full support of the University in honoring all of Eric’s requests for access and assistance. Photo by Brian Hester
Rutgers Alumni and major boosters Ron Garuitti and his wife Joanna pose for a photo with Rutgers broadcast legend Chris Carlin Photo by Brian Hester

Having covered dozens of Eric’s events over the past 9 years I consider myself blessed to work alongside Team LeGrand. Eric’s unflappable inspiration is only ever overshadowed by his constant smile. Always willing to stop and take time to talk to fans and supporters Eric goes out of his way to offer words of encouragement to others that have suffered spinal cord injuries. At one event many years ago I witnessed firsthand as Eric had a long conversation with a young boy that had recently become paralyzed. The event organizers were trying to keep to the schedule and needed to get Eric to address the waiting crowd. As they tried to pull Eric away he waved them off. Three times. Finally the young mans mother told him that he had to stop chatting so that Eric could get on with the event. They young man, didn’t look older than 12, asked Eric if he could get his phone number as he was leaving. The boys mother interjected telling her son, “oh he can’t do that”. But Eric said,”Why not?” and he made sure to get the boy his personal cell number before leaving to address the crowd. This is Eric LeGrand. This is Rutgers. This is the spirit of “R” family. This is volunteers such as Jason, and Ron, hosting this huge event each year.

Some Rutgers Scarlet Knights appeared via memorabilia such as LA Rams second year nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day who donated a signed jersey, seen at rear of room. Photo by Brian Hester
Members of Team LeGrand / Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation man the Shop 52 table at the event. Eric’s latest venture, his new clothing line “Roll Model 52” has been a big success thus far with many A-List celebs sporting the line on social media. Photo by Brian Hester
Bryan Cranston, pictured here sporting his Roll Model 52 tee. Eric was a consultant on the film The Upside staring Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman. Photo from Mr. Cranstons’ Instagram

Eric gave an inspiring speech as he always does. He was joined on the stage by Ron Gold. Ron provided inspirational words as well. Describing his ordeal and how he manages the changes. He told a harrowing tale of his newest sports passion and how he ended up capsized while strapped into a specially outfitted water craft. He then reveled how that did not deter him from pursuing his new passion as he announced that he had recently won a competition and then he proudly displayed his medal. Most of us may have given up after the capsizing incident but Ron, much like Eric is one of those rare people that not only persevere but push other to do better.

Speaker Ron Gold is seen addressing the crowd as Eric LeGrand sits to his left. Photo by Brian Hester
Ron Gold smiles as he shows off his medal and his courage. Photo by Brian Hester
Chris Carlin auctions off the Derek Jeter bat, which created an amazing bidding war before finally being sold for a great price all to raise money for spinal cord injury research. Photo by Brian Hester
Eric seen here addressing the crowd and providing words of inspiration. Photo by Brian Hester
Ron Garutti Jr. world renowned club entertainer DJ Yoshi, Chris Carlin and DJ Yoshi’s wife Melissa Photo by Brian Hester
Karen LeGrand, Eric’s mother, is all smiles after being mentioned by Eric as the person that always inspires him. Photo by Brian Hester
After several hours of the event Eric is still all smiles as he posses for a photo with Chris Carlin after the event. Photo by Brian Hester

There just aren’t enough word to thank the amazing Newroads team for all of their hard work and dedication in support of Eric and all those effected by spinal cord injury. Well done!!!

The amazing Newroads team take break from their excellent work of organizing and running the event to pose for a photo with Eric. Photo by Brian Hester
As Eric makes his way to the stage to speak his mother, Karen, can be seen in the background. Karen is always there behind Eric. Photo by Brian Hester

To see additional photos please check the gallery below. For an album of all event photos that can be shared to social media or downloaded, low-res only, click here.

Events

Brian Hester is a New York City based freelance photographer covering any nature of event including but not limited to; breaking news, sports, entertainment, fashion, nature and whatever may catch his wandering eye. Since 2011 Brian, has been covering community events and high school sports for North Jersey Media Group and their successor Gannett USA Today. His clients include Rutgers University and Monmouth Athletics. ​You can see more of his work at www.brianbehindthelens.com

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